Last week we finally got to weave off the warp I've been struggling with for months. It was about 5 yards of 8/2 cotton, intended for dishtowels, and it was just exactly the weaving experience I'd hoped for. Both my six and three year old were able to experiment with it; the warp was long enough that we could stretch the weaving out over several days; and the end result is recognizable to them as Real Cloth. We really had a lot of fun.
Here George is treadling and beating.
He wanted to know about tie-ups, and also why you push down on the treadle to make the harness go up.
He was able to weave all by himself!
Here Charlotte is treadling. I had the middle two treadles tied up so she didn't have to stretch to the outside. Turns out she really knows her right and left!
But what worked best for us was having her beat. We had a little chant worked out: Mama goes "whoosh," Charlotte goes "bang!" Mama goes "whoosh," Charlotte goes "bang!" .... ad infinitum. She was even able to see whether she was getting consistent placement of the weft, and beat a few more times if necessary to make it match.
We invited non-weaving friends to help, and they picked it right up, too.
I must say, though, that I found it a little hard to share. I really wanted to spend more time weaving by myself. If I had managed to get the whole warp on, I would have been able to weave at night and still have had plenty of warp for the kids. As it was, there were a few undignified moments when I found myself saying, "Now it's MY turn!" I'm already planning the next warp.
One last thing: here's how the row of knots wove up. I had thought it would be all spiky, but actually all the loose ends got woven in. Who'd have thunk?
Next up: from cloth to towel.